World Duchenne Awareness Day highlights a year-round effort to improve adult life in Duchenne

On 7 September 2021, many activities around the world were organized on the occasion of World Duchenne Awareness Day. Awareness-raising events were hosted in many countries by organizations, companies, healthcare professionals and families. This article summarizes World Duchenne Awareness Day 2021 events involving thousands of people across the world, under the theme ‘Adult Life & Duchenne’.

The 8th World Duchenne Awareness Day was a reminder of the importance of creating opportunities to improve the lives of adults living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

The World Duchenne Organization would like to thank everyone who created and participated in activities that were organized throughout the world. Elizabeth Vroom, chair: “During this extraordinary day, we were happy to see this big movement about the globe and the willingness to take action to achieve the goal of this day. Adults with Duchenne should be able to receive adequate care, have opportunities to live an independent life and to participate in society.”

Online Event on Adult Life & Duchenne

The World Duchenne Organization hosted an online event on Adult Life & Duchenne. The event gathered people from 59 countries to listen to stories and experiences surrounding DMD and adult life. The aim was not only to inspire and empower young adults with Duchenne and their families to think and plan for the future, but also call for global action to everyone involved to facilitate adults with Duchenne to live a full life including, social participation, jobs, independence and provision of optimal health care.

Apart from experts sharing their take on adult life, multiple interviews highlighted the perspective of adults living with Duchenne. In addition to care, other important aspects that were discussed included mental wellbeing, future perspective, and disability rights.

Consensus Guidelines for Adult Duchenne Care

With increased life expectancy for people living with Duchenne MD, new medical needs need to be addressed in international standards of care. The Journal of Neuromuscular Diseases published on WDAD the Consensus Guidelines for Adult Duchenne Care. Catherine Woodhead, Chief Executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK said: “I am extremely pleased that Muscular Dystrophy UK has been able to fund and support the development of the first published best practice standards of care for adults living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We hope that the pioneering work of Professor Ros Quinlivan and the Adult NorthStar Network will help to improve the consistency of high quality care for adults with Duchenne in the UK, but also across the world as these recommendations are adopted in other countries.”

Illuminated landmarks

As the evening set in on September 7, famous buildings, landmarks and monuments were lighting up in red to raise awareness for the rare muscle wasting disease. The Niagara Falls (Canada), Torre Glòries (Spain), and Legislatura (Chile), are only few of the many red landmarks. Next to a wave of red light, some of the initiatives included the projection of the logo, such as on the Stedelijk Museum (Netherlands).

Next Steps

The World Duchenne Organization is planning a series of webinars regarding adult life in Duchenne. Each webinar will focus on a specific care aspect. The Duchenne Care Conference that is taking place in April 2022 will be dedicated as well on Adult Life & Duchenne.

World Duchenne Awareness Day

World Duchenne Awareness Day has been celebrated annually by the Duchenne and Becker community since 2014. It aims to raise awareness and inspire action to improve life quantity and quality of people living with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. Through World Duchenne Awareness Day, the World Duchenne Organization works to highlight important aspects that deserve more attention.

Consensus Guideline for Adult Duchenne Care

Today on World Duchenne Awareness Day, the Journal of Neuromuscular Diseases published the consensus guideline for adult Duchenne care. The publication can be accessed by clicking on the link below. We are grateful for professor Ros Quinlivan for taking the lead on this, and would like to thank the Adult North Star Network (ANSN) and Muscular Dystrophy UK for their contributions.  

Adult North Star Network (ANSN): Consensus Guideline For The Standard Of Care Of Adults With Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. 


There are growing numbers of adults with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy living well into their fourth decade. These patients have complex medical needs that to date have not been addressed in the International standards of care. We sought to create a consensus based standard of care through a series of multi-disciplinary workshops with specialists from a wide range of clinical areas: Neurology, Cardiology, Respiratory Medicine, Gastroenterology, Endocrinology, Palliative Care Medicine, Rehabilitation, Renal, Anaesthetics and Clinical Psychology.

Detailed reports of evidence reviewed and the consensus building process were produced following each workshop and condensed into this final document which was approved by all members of the Adult North Star Network including service users. The aim of this document is to provide a framework to improve clinical services and multi-disciplinary care for adults living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Online event on Adult Life & Duchenne

The World Duchenne Organization is organizing an online educational event on Adult Life & Duchenne. The free event on September 7 will be accessible for everybody via Zoom, and is available with live Spanish interpretation.

On September 7, the World Duchenne Organization is organizing a live event from 14:00 to 16:00 Central European Summer Time. During these 2 hours, various experts will share their experience and knowledge on adult life with Duchenne. Speakers include Prof. Ros Quinlivan, Dr. Jos Hendriksen, Nicoletta Madia, Elizabeth Vroom and Hlawulani Mkhabela. Apart from these, Duchenne adults from different parts of the world will share their experience of living with Duchenne.

Register here for the ‘Adult Life & Duchenne’ Conference

Adult men living with Duchenne

The number of adult men living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is growing bigger every year. This can largely be attributed to better medical care, such as supportive ventilation and the use of preventive (cardiac) medication. These men want and deserve to live their lives to the fullest. This means they have the right to receive adequate care, have opportunities to live independently and to participate in society.

However, the medical profession and society are often not ready to facilitate this. While knowledge of optimal care for pediatric patients has expanded considerably and the organization of care has improved for this group, there are no care guidelines so far for the adult men.

Optimal care

Only very few studies are being done to gain evidence on optimal care. Care is often fragmented and there is a lack of specialized medical teams/centers for adult DMD care. In addition, educational institutions and employers are often not equipped with the necessary facilities and support systems, and too many facilities are just not accessible, leading to extreme frustration.

Although the first papers describing the challenges as seen by this group were published more than 15 years ago, and since then documentaries have been produced and workshops held on these topics, a lot of work still needs to be done to improve the situation for adults with DMD around the globe.

“On September 7 during World Duchenne Awareness Day 2021, we ask you to act and start or accelerate activities to provide appropriate support and improve accessibility. By doing so, adults with DMD can indeed live their lives to the fullest, receive adequate care, and be given the opportunity to live independently and to participate in society.” – says Elizabeth Vroom, chair of the World Duchenne Organization.

Simultaneous interpretation

The event will be held in English with an option for simultaneous interpretation into Spanish and Ukrainian. The online event will be accessible to everyone who registered. The event will be recorded and the video subsequently made available.

Apart from being of interest to caregivers and people living with Duchenne MD, the event will be of particular interest to clinicians and other healthcare professionals, employers interested to hire people living with a disability, and government institutions.

2021: Adult Life & Duchenne


September 7 is World Duchenne Awareness Day. On this day we raise awareness for Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy around the globe. As every year, we have a special theme that deserves more attention. This year that will be ‘Adult Life & Duchenne’. An online event accessible to everybody was taking place on September 7.


Over the past decades, life expectancy of individuals affected by Duchenne MD has increased significantly, and adults with Duchenne are not an exception anymore. Adult life with Duchenne comes with new challenges and opportunities as well as with new medical issues. This World Duchenne Awareness Day, we are globally advocating to create opportunities for young adults and adults with Duchenne to live their lives to the fullest.


On September 7, the World Duchenne Organization will be hosting an online event. During this event, experts share their stories and experiences surrounding DMD/BMD and adult life. With this, we aim to inspire and empower young adults with Duchenne and their families to think and plan for the future.


Click the picture below to see the official World Duchenne Awareness Day 2021 press release. The press release is available in Arabic, Bulgarian, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

Visit the ‘Download Materials‘ page for more information, visuals and materials to raise awareness.

For inquiries, please contact Suzie-Ann Bakker